Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2001
Publication Date: 7/1/2002
Citation: Proceedings 2002 Beltwide Cotton Conference, National Cotton Council, Memphis, TN, 6 pages.
Interpretive Summary: After ginning, adding water by over spray positively increases bale weight but at the potential of increasing yellowness and grayness, thus lowering the color grade. At the same time, microbial activity will also be stimulated. While the dust potential data has not been gathered yet, there is reason to believe that the cotton dust potential of the water treated bales will be greater than the untreated bales since increased bacterial and especially fungal activity was observed. Microbial activity was not uniformly dispersed through the bale and this spotty behavior may add to difficulties during lay down at the mill. In addition, the greater fungal mass on the water treated bales adds an unnecessary potential health risk to the workers who will be handling the cotton in the mills. While adding water does inflate the bale weight, the added weight might be offset by penalties or a lower classification of the cotton due to increased yellowness and grayness. The change in color grade occurs after official classification; and it may or may not occur before mill consumption depending upon the storage time. Additionally, the bales studied herein, were packaged in relatively imperable polyethylene rather than the more conventional bagging. Further studies should examine the impact of permeable bagging.
Technical Abstract: The practice of adding water to ginned cotton to reduce bale packaging forces and increase the bale weight was studied in regard to potential biological degradation of the cotton due to excess moisture. This study indicated that added moisture did indeed increase the bale weight, but at the same time, significant increase in yellowness and grayness resulted. The excessive moisture levels stimulated microbial activity; especially troubling was the large increase in mold activity, which maybe considered as an unnecessary health risk. Microbial activity was not uniformly dispersed through the bale and this spotty behavior may add to difficulties during lay down at the mill.